Dining, drinking, harvesting, and cooking; Gather's strikingly beautiful pages guide us, ginger punch in hand, through a season of eating together. Founded by New York creative director Michele Outland and Brooklyn-based writer and editor Fiorella Valdesolo, this bi-annual food journal is fast becoming one of our favorite reads for mornings in the kitchen.
In their words, "We started Gather because of a shared love of food and cooking, and a desire to create a magazine with staying power on your bookshelf; one that you could return to again and again for inspiration. If we can, with our recipes and words, inspire a great meal and maybe a smile, then we feel satisfied."
From their inaugural issue, our friends kindly agreed to share this approach to steak with an Italian twist. Needless to say, it has us firing the grills for autumn dinners outdoors.
Steak, Caponata, and Burrata
A classic chargrilled steak gets the Italian treatment with the addition of rich, cinnamon-laced caponata and a knotted nest of burrata. Remember, the best burrata should live up to its name; it means buttery, and the oozing, creamy texture should be just that.
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp capers
A couple of fresh basil or parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 (1 1/4 inch thick) rib-eye or New York strip steaks
1/2 lb fresh burrata, at room temperature
1. Toss eggplant with a 1/2 tsp salt and let stand in colander 30 minutes. Pat dry between sheets of paper towel.
2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Fry half of eggplant until golden and tender, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with another 1/4 cup oil and fry remaining eggplant, transferring to the plate when tender.
3. Add remaining Tbsp oil to skillet and cook onion over medium heat until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, pepper flakes, and cinnamon and cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in tomatoes and cook until they are softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar and capers. Return eggplant back to pan and cook 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar if you like and stir in basil. Serve warm or room temperature.
4. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet until quite hot. Swirl a little oil in the skillet then sear steaks, in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.
5. Divide steaks between 4 plates and serve with caponata and thick slabs of burrata.
Photo main: Roland Bello